Tuesday Take-Away: Is VDR a Cure?

In the first two posts in our Backup series, we covered the difference between “restore” and “recovery” and some key terms to know when considering your requirements and solutions.  In this week’s Take-Away, we look at VDR, or Virtual Disaster Recovery, as a possible cure for your recovery ailments.

Virtual DR is a service that leverages virtualization technology and online backup services to provide your organization with an affordable path for a speedy Return to Operations (RTO) in the event of a disaster.

How Virtual DR Works:

With Virtual DR, the backup process creates complete images of your servers — operating system, drivers, software, and data — and maintains the image on a server in a secure data center.  The process updates the image regularly and when changes are made to each server, including regular patches and updates.

In parallel, you continue to use online backup services to ensure current data is available for restores and to ensure the most current data is available for recovery.

In an emergency, your server images are activated to run on servers in the secure data center.  You connect your business to the servers, from your current location or an alternate location, via a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).  Once running, the most recent data set is restored from the data backups.

In most cases, businesses using Virtual DR have a RTO of under 4 hours.

What Does Virtual DR Cost?

What makes Virtual DR affordable is that server image backup and storage is very inexpensive.  You only pay for operational services when you declare an emergency.  As such, Virtual DR is an incremental cost over online backup services.

When looking at Virtual DR solutions expect the following components and fees:

  • One-Time Fees
    • Setup and Configuration
    • Software agents for Exchange, SQL Server, and other specialized systems and applications
    • Initial Validation Testing
  • Recurring Fees
    • Backup and storage of service images
  • As-Needed Fees
    • Emergency declaration and server run-time
    • Additional bandwidth

Considerations

Better  VDR services provide a fixed fee for an emergency declaration and base level of run time.  For example, the VENYU Virtual DR services we offer include the emergency declaration and 30 days of run time for a single, small fee.

Additionally, the VDR service should include periodic validation tests as part of the recurring monthly cost of the service.  Annual tests are good, semi-annual tests are better.  And, you should have the option of adding and paying for additional tests when warranted, such as after major changes to your IT environment.

Finally, check with your insurance provider.  Most policies that include business recovery coverage will pay for the emergency declaration, run time, and bandwidth in the event of a disaster.  Having Virtual DR in place may also lower your premiums.

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